So my 89 year old mother placed her first ever bet on the cup yesterday. And you guessed it. She backed the winner. With odds of close to 100-1 it was a huge return for a very small investment on Prince of Penzance. She’s figuring now on giving up share trading for horse racing.
And for Michelle Payne, it was another couple of firsts. Her first cup win, not to mention the first female to win the Melbourne cup ever. Needless to say the champagne was flowing.
Life is full of firsts.
The thing is when we first achieve something either for ourselves or as part of the human race, it opens the floodgates of possibility. Because if one person can do it, they make it possible for others to see they can too. Of course you need to prepare, take action, train relentlessly and sacrifice a whole shitload of other things you might love to be doing. But once you see that someone else has achieved ‘the impossible’ it makes it so much easier doesn’t it.
Like running the 4 minute mile.
Like building the first car.
Like landing on the moon.
But firsts don’t need to be public to make an impact. Maybe your first is simply to be the first one in your family to break the mould of poor financial decisions or bad relationships. Just think of the impact for the generations that follow.
It doesn’t matter what you want to achieve. There’s always a first. So start with the end in mind and it may well be you.
So you’ve got to hand it to them. The Red Cross do an awesome job both globally and locally. And the other day when they cold called for donations, my daughter (and boss) Julie wanted to give the guy a job. Because he was brilliant.
Cold calling is just about the world’s most terrifying part of being in sales. Up there with the fear of public speaking, most people would choose to do almost anything else if they could to avoid it. The fear of rejection is a huge thing. But this Red Cross guy, well he was all over it. Calling late one afternoon, he had Julie convinced he was one of our clients. Opening with a bit of general chit chat, Julie was primed to listen to what he said next. And of course he was after a donation. A donation to help fund a phone service where lonely people stuck at home get a daily call from a Red Cross volunteer. While a worthwhile cause, Julie responded by letting him know we have our own charitable arm. But he was ready for all the usual reasons why not and countered with some brilliant arguments that left Julie no where to go. ‘That’s okay, we can talk about your own individual contribution’. Following up with ideas of it being Julie’s Grandma stuck at home alone she just couldn’t say no.
So impressed by the brilliance of his call, Julie agreed to a donation.
And afterward wished she’d asked him if he wanted a job.
Cold calls are notoriously unpopular for both the caller and target. But there are ways to make the job so much more effective, leaving both parties with a good feeling. Stop thinking of them as cold calls for instance. Warm yourself up before you even begin. Smile, stretch and stand or sit in a power position. Get your own mindset set for success. Then pick up the phone and have a chat. Remember you’re talking to a person on the other end of the line. Imagine it’s a friend and your whole conversation changes for the better. Don’t script it. While it’s important to have some thoughts on what you want to say and how to counter objections, don’t just read it. Boring as bat shit and guaranteed to fail. And my favourite idea to counter the fear of rejection. Robert Smith suggests you lean into it. Set your target for ‘no’ responses rather than chasing the wins. As I see it, in chasing the ‘nos’ you’re under less pressure to get the ‘yes’s’ and guess what! You’ve overcome the fear and you’re enjoying yourself more which means you’re more likely to get the sale. It’s the law of reversed effect.
Cold calling tips aside, when was the last time you donated to a worthwhile cause? Or if finances don’t allow, how about lifting the spirits of someone you know by taking the time to call.
So there was a show on recently about the world’s most expensive food. Coffee at $700 per cup for instance. So rare because it is eaten and pooed out by a critter in the Sumatran jungle as part of the processing. Needless to say a flavour all of its own. Or the Beluga caviar at over $50,000 per tin. So pricey because you have to wait 12 years to get your first eggs. Or then there’s the ice-cream made from melting glaciers in Africa or you might prefer the gold leaf from Dubai at over $1000 per scoop.
But of course if you’d prefer a meal in the world’s most expensive restaurant, you are welcome to book a seat at nearly $3000 per person. And you’ll have to fly there.
Prices like these show there’s more than enough money to go round. And it’s not just in the food industry. How about the client who rang me yesterday. Bored on a Tuesday afternoon so thought he’d go out shopping and buy a bit of furniture. Came home with a Ferrari all because his ‘old’ Audi needed new tyres.
Quite an insight into how the other half live isn’t it.
But the thing is there’s a market for it and smart people are positioning themselves to be in the business of selling to the people who can afford to buy. And making a handsome profit in the process. And while some people will sit in judgement of the lavishness of this lifestyle, it pays to remember that the wealthy are sharing their fortune with those ready to receive it every time they make a purchase.
It’s an exchange of value.
When money’s not an issue, the rich are looking for something else. An experience. A story. And any astute entrepreneur will see the opportunity to fill that gap.
Really it’s all about choice. The choices we make that bring money and opportunity our way. Or keep us struggling. And whether our choices are conscious or not, we are all making them, all the time. We can choose to be judgemental about the way other people live. Or we can choose to be in the business that provides goods and services to the rich and famous. It just takes a bit of know how, a good strategy and the confidence and mindset to make it happen.
We spent the last week with our business clients doing just that. Developing their entrepreneurial skills as they create profitable solutions to other people’s needs. And it’s exciting times.
The world is your oyster. There are some great opportunities out there. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the one ordering the caviar. After all, that’s how my client got his Ferrari.
We don’t conquer the mountain, it’s us we need to beat.
And watching Nick Kyrgios in action this week the truth of that is pretty clear. Because the very thing that makes Nick such an awesome tennis player is the very thing that causes him so much grief. That “nothing will get in my way – go for it” attitude, which has him going for shots no-one else would even think of, is also his Achilles heel. Causing him to behave in ways that on reflection won’t be his proudest moments.
Being a Canberra boy, our local radio station has been kinder than the rest of the media. And yesterday they made a good point. That Nick’s biggest opponent is not the guy at the other end of the court. His biggest opponent is himself. And what’s going on between his ears. By his own admission, Kyrgios will be the first to tell you there’s a lot of stuff going through his head. It’s hard enough to work yourself out even without the pressure of the world watching your every move.
When it all boils down to it, the real game in life is the one you play when you go up against yourself. And when you’re not centred, not in control of yourself, your game will always be less than your best. Unfortunately for Nick Kyrgios he is learning this on the world stage. But watching Nick reminds me it’s a lesson for all of us.
When Denzel Washington was a younger man an intuitive woman told him that one day he would travel the world and speak to millions of people. Of course, we know that’s exactly what he does… through his movies.
Mary and I learned a really important lesson very early on. We had a goal to give our children a country childhood and we spent a lot of time working on the ‘how’ of making it happen. How we could escape the city and live our dream. The ‘how’ for us was to save like crazy. Saving to purchase our 200 acres, then saving again to build our dream home while we lived in a caravan and washed in a dam.
Being new arrivals in a country town we got ourselves involved in the local country ball held on what is now Dick Smith’s property. You can imagine just what a place this is. It was quite a shindig. And Mary ended up dancing with the gardener. He was living rent free with a small wage to boot and cared for the massive garden in return for his board. It’s amazing how candid people can be. And the truth is he was living the same dream we had only he hadn’t mortgaged himself to the eyeballs to make it happen. It was a huge wake up.
As I’ve heard Mary say so often many people have goals, but give them up because we can’t see ‘how’ to make them happen. But life can be very creative. And it seems life has a way of delivering exactly what we want when we’re really focussed. After all, there are many ways to make something happen. Often the ‘how’ takes care of itself. And often it’s in a way we haven’t even thought of.
Have you ever stopped to watch TED talks? A showcase of the world’s most brilliant thinkers, stretching our minds in never before thought of ways. It’s well worth the time.
I was watching Sir Ken Robinson the other day talking about education. He’s an expert on creativity and he challenges the way we educate our children. The way that most of our schools focus on the analytical subjects like maths and science as the holy grail while devaluing the creative such as art and music. And he made the observation that our education system is designed to mine our minds. All the good stuff stripped away just like you strip a mine of its gold. A terrifying thought. But take a child at a young age, contain them for hours on end, teach them what you want to teach them, repeat it over and over until they know it by rote, test them on it and voila! You’ve implanted a particular way of thinking. And all the good stuff, the natural urge to play, to explore and to create has been stripped away. You’ve created one perfect drone.
And here’s the rub. When you can get a child to think in a particular way, let’s call it a mindset, you block creativity. Because they can only see things the way they have been taught. There’s nothing else on their radar. But creativity is essential to life. It drives everything. It is the source of everything. Take invention. It’s difficult to invent something you haven’t first imagined. And while some people hold up scientific research as the be all and end all, they don’t stop to think that it’s actually creativity that drives the science. After all, you’ve got to have an idea worth researching in the first place. Just look around and you will see the power of creativity at work.
When we’re locked into a particular mindset – about money, about relationships, about our health, about the way we raise our kids, about anything in life – we literally can’t see any other way. Which means we can’t create something new.
So if you want something new in your life, challenge your mindset. Challenge the way you think. Challenge the beliefs you have that have probably been drilled into you by somebody else with another agenda anyway. The good news is that with the right training, those rigid, limiting mindsets can be overcome.
We’ve just had the most awesome weekend at bootcamp, followed by two incredible days at our Entrepreneur’s Master Class. And we were blessed to have coach and motivational speaker Andrew Fleming present. For those of you who don’t know Andrew, he’s a Beyond Success coach who trained with us all the way from New Zealand. Four times he crossed the ditch to complete his training… and that included the challenges of travelling with a wheelchair.
Some years ago Andrew had a farming accident that left him without the use of his legs. That’s no small thing for a young guy in the prime of his life suddenly dependent on a wheelchair to get around. But did that stop him? No way. And while there were many obstacles to overcome he didn’t give in. Instead he chose to reinvent himself. To reframe things. And to focus his mind on anything that gave him hope, be it big or small. When he couldn’t do things the way he use to, he found a new way. This year he’s all set for another six weeks of skiing the magic of those New Zealand mountains on his specially designed ski. There’s no stopping this guy.
For anybody who’s ever had a challenge to overcome, Andrew’s story is nothing short of inspiring. And it’s a lesson for all of us. We can give in to the heartbreak and disappointments that inevitably come with life. Or we can CHOOSE to rise above them, learn from them and move on to creating something awesome for ourselves. It’s all about your mindset.
Barack Obama announced yesterday he was sending 3000 troops in to support West Africa in the midst of the current outbreak of Ebola. In my book, every one of those troops deserves a medal for bravery right now just for making the decision to go. Because the thing is Ebola doesn’t discriminate between those sent in to help and the civilians on the ground. It will strike anyone down. The doctors and aid workers, the troops and engineers, the journalists covering the tragedy as it unfolds, all at risk themselves as they seek to help control the epidemic.
One of the saddest things to grasp is because it spreads through human contact, they can’t even meet the basic human need for touch. No hugs to reassure the children they are treating. No holding a dying person’s hand. Just too dangerous. It’s a horror hard to imagine.
So what does it take to make such a decision? To be willing to go into the outbreak zone and put your life on the line for others.
Among other things, I think it takes great courage.
At its core, courage is all about having heart. It’s about the willingness to act according to our values despite the presence of fear. It’s not about a lack of fear. It is about judging what is most important and then acting on that realisation. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway for the greater good.
Fortunately for most of us in our rather more sheltered corner of the world, the courage we need on a daily basis is not life-threatening even though it might feel that way. And while we may not be called upon to put our lives on the line, there are many times in our life where we must dig deep and find our courage in the face of adversity. After all, life is full of challenges and many of them will take great courage to overcome.
Next time you need to dig deep and find that courage, perhaps it might help to put it in perspective. Just turn on the news any given night for a bit of that.
Do you have the courage to live according to your values?
It’s not everyday you almost cut your leg off with a chainsaw, is it?
Since my close encounter with the blade of that awesome beast I’ve rediscovered there are two types of people in the world. Not quite the glass half empty, glass half full, but a take on that. Those that believe I’m lucky and those that respond with ‘How awful’. Roughly 40/60.
And it’s been an interesting thing to watch. Because what I’ve noticed is that those people with predisposition toward seeing the good in life apply the same to me. They see me as lucky. A massively deep wound across the knee but miraculously I didn’t hit either bone or any major blood vessels. But then there are those people who have a predisposition toward the negative. And their response is always about how terrible this injury is.
The triage nurse probably put it best. Waiting for 5 hours in a fair bit of pain is not the way I normally like to spend a Saturday evening. And I don’t think the hospital staff would have taken too kindly to the bottle of red (I would have preferred to be enjoying at home with friends) as medicinal. But as she said when we enquired about the wait, you don’t want to be in there behind the closed doors. Why? Because the people in there are much worse than you. Take the guy who busted his leg with the bone sticking out. Puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it. They want to put a sign up in emergency only the hospital won’t let them. Something to the effect of ‘If you’re still waiting, be grateful, because it means you’re not dying’.
In the days following, I have learned even more. I could have cancelled the gig in Adelaide and stayed at home for instance. But with nothing to distract me I’d only have felt every throb for four days straight. Much better to be out doing the things I love to do. Of course I had to explain my leg elevated on a bar stool. Bit hard to ignore. But as it happens there at the gig we had a woman trained as a nurse offering to help me dress the wound each day. Armed with compression bandages and sterile dressings she dressed my leg each day as only an expert can. What an incredible gift. But the thing I am most in awe of, is that she spoke of how much she valued the opportunity to give back to Mary and me for the things that she had learned over the last five years and how it had changed her life. I am truly humbled. If I’d stayed at home and moped I wouldn’t have received this gift… and nor would she.
So there are times in my life where despite my very best intentions, goal setting and strategy, things just don’t come off. Yep, it happens to me too. And for years it left me perplexed. But looking back I now see that there is a master plan at work. And given time with just a little bit of patience, okay, sometimes a lot of patience, things have a habit of falling into place perfectly.
So now I don’t sweat it so much. Well most of the time. Because I know that I just need to put out there what it is I want. Be really clear. And stay focussed, not waivering from what it is I really want. The things my soul yearns for. Might need to tweak things a little, but for the most part just stay focussed.
Of course there have been times I’ve wanted to compromise because it’s just not happening quickly enough. It’s a huge temptation, isn’t it. To compromise on what’s really important to get things moving. But really it only sells us short on both happiness and that awesome feeling of satisfaction we get when we create a space for the things we really want… to actually happen.
One thing I’ve learned is the wisdom of the universe in its timing and delivery. And how perfectly my plans dovetail in with the intentions of others. Sometimes that’s what the waiting is all about. The universal intelligence at work.
In the end it all seems to work out just perfectly if I just stay focussed, give thanks and remain patient.
What’s your focus?
Will you stay the distance?
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”
I once met a man who was paid to think. That’s right. It was his job to come to work each day and think. Just think. And while it sounds like a bit of a have, it turns out it was a really important job. Because this guy sat there all day and thought about the business. And how it could be improved so that it became more efficient. More profitable. This guy saved and made this company millions.
He wasn’t Einstein. He was just an ordinary bloke that realised the value of thinking.
Did you know that many of the most extraordinary ideas come from ordinary people?
Take the first lift ever built on the outside of a building. Story has it a bunch of architects were meeting with the hotel executive and discussing how to incorporate a lift into the hotel without losing too much business by closing down. The janitor was cleaning the room at the time and happened to have a flash of brilliance. What about putting the lift on the outside of the building? But do you think this simple brilliance was well received. After all, what would a janitor with a room full of ‘experts’ know. But then… well the rest is history.
Sometimes it only takes a slightly different perspective on a problem to open up a whole new world of possibilities. A little trust and time given over to the creative part of your mind to come up with something new. Most people don’t realise that creativity is subconscious. And it’s a powerhouse we all have.
What could a new idea mean for you?
What could a new idea mean for your business?
It may not even be a big idea. Sometimes the smallest tweaks make the biggest impact.
There’s no doubt there are some things we have to fight for. Intolerable wrongs that need to be made right. And there have been plenty of these over the years, haven’t there. Both in the world at large and in our own lives.
But there is also a place for acceptance.
And sometimes I think we can forget this. Because there are some things in life we simply can’t change. And to continue to rail against them, to resist, to put up a fight is only expending energy we could put to better use in other ways.
So what is acceptance? I like to think of acceptance as finding peace with whatever is your current reality. Not necessarily liking it. But no longer resisting it either. And there’s a certain grace to this. Not always easy I know. But it can give us clarity to see other possibilities.
And the key to acceptance? In my experience it’s to quit the judgements. We judge everything, don’t we. Right or wrong. Black or white. I believe acceptance is about seeing shades of grey. Because when we decide in our own mind something is wrong, and we pass that judgement, we make it not okay. And this can set up the fight.
I often find looking at the bigger picture can help. The benefit of hindsight. Or just trusting that there is a greater good at work. If I’d made my cancer wrong for instance, I would have missed out on the gifts it gave me. But in practising acceptance, I find my peace and that can only be a healing place physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
How come for one person the world is full of arseholes and they attract them like magnets? And it’s everybody else’s fault. While for another life is just peachy.
Most people don’t realise that what we put out is exactly what we get back. It’s one of those universal laws. And that’s why two people can have the very same thing happen to them, but experience it in completely different ways.
It all comes back to mindset.
And that’s a direct reflection of our beliefs.
If for example, we see the world as a dangerous place, all we’re going to do is hone in on the dangerous stuff. It’s like we set our subconscious the task of singling every bit of danger out just to prove to ourselves what we already believe is true. And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn’t it. Every dumb arse out to get us.
But another person, who believes the world is just this great big awesome adventure will attract quite the opposite and the very best of everything.
We can do ourselves, and other people, other situations, a great disservice by being locked into a mindset that doesn’t allow us to see something else entirely.
As they say, if you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
The magic of this is that in changing the way we think about something, we often find the problem simply disappears. Because everything starts in the mind.
Ghandi was right. Be the change you want to see in the world.
Embody it and it will come back to you.
What situations is your mindset attracting?
Who in your life could you set free by being willing to see them differently?
Is it time to get your check up from the neck up?
There’s no time like the present to change your mind.
A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.
“What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.
“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.
“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”
“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.
Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.
Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.
“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.
“They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”
“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”
Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil, set off a tornado in Texas?
For the uninitiated, this is the question that defines the Butterfly Effect. How a seemingly insignificant action can influence a large-scale future event.
Pretty incredible thought, huh.
But is it?
After all, back in 1886, the simple curiosity of an Atlanta pharmacist led him to create a new soft drink. Today, Cocoa Cola Amatil is worth hundred’s of millions of dollars.
While some years ago a young lawyer could see a better future for his people. Never giving up on his vision, Nelson Mandela defied the odds and turned a country on its head.
Back here in the office only a month ago, our Angela made the decision to train part-time in an industry she’d only dreamed about. Now she’s working in 5 star hotels and with high-end weddings. And she’s loving it.
Isn’t it incredible how everything starts with a single thought, or step or action. And we never know how far reaching any one of these will be.
So the choice is yours.
You can sit there only dreaming about how you want things to be.
And you may not go anywhere.
Or you can take little steps in the direction of your dreams. Little steps that may not seem significant at first. And then one day, looking back, you might just be surprised by the greatness of what you have achieved.
All it takes is one action every day.
That’s a massive 365 actions every year.
And that’s significant, isn’t it.
So how much closer to your dream will you be this time next year?
I was talking with my good friend Nicholas de Castella the other day. And we were discussing overwhelm. You know, that feeling when it’s all too much and you’re just about to explode. Or perhaps you’d rather run away. I guess your response all depends on your default coping strategy.
But the thing about overwhelm, and stress in general, is it’s only a reflection of our feelings of being unable to cope. So it’s not really about the overwhelm. Or the things happening outside of us. It’s really all about our reserves within and how we perceive them. It’s all about our mindset.
Most people don’t realise it’s exactly the same for worry.
Because we only worry about things if we don’t think we’ve got the reserves to cope with them. Otherwise they wouldn’t bother us, would they?
The human species is quite amazing in its ability to conjure up worry out of nothing. The monkey mind they call it. Always busy. Makes stuff up just for the hell of it really. And we can create the end of the world right here in our minds, a thousand times a day.
Not really living is it.
And that’s why taking time out to be quiet is so important. Because it helps us to pull back. And gives us the headspace to see what’s really going on. To get things in perspective. And to realize that if we’ve made it this far, then we really do have some reserves in there, don’t we! I’m amazed how often people forget this.
And another thing… have you ever noticed how much easier it is to cope with what life dishes up when you’re feeling happier? Much easier, isn’t it.
So if we focus on creating happiness for ourselves and those around us, even our real worries are that much easier to handle. Makes sense then doesn’t it, to focus on what’s going right in your life, rather than what’s going wrong.
So what’s worrying you?
If you knew you had the reserves to cope with it, could you look at it differently?
And if you took the emotion out of it, what would your next step be?
As the man said… Don’t worry, be happy. It’s a great philosophy.
Learning to move forward one step at a time with emotional intelligence, helps to move us through the worry and back to a state of happiness.
There was an interview some years back on Enough Rope. And it was the kind of interview that just stays with you. Andrew Denton interviewing a former leader of the Klu Klux Klan. And he tells the story of how one old black preacher man defeated them all.
The Klan were out to get him, but he never missed a beat. When they set fire to a cross, he asked them if they’d like marshmallows. When they turned up in white robes outside his house, he just laughed and told them Halloween was still months away.
But the piece de resistance… the old preacher in a restaurant about to eat a plate of chicken when he was surrounded by 30 Klan members. Threatening to do him whatever he did next to the chicken.
And so he took a moment to think… before picking up the chicken and kissing it.
As MasterCard would say…. priceless.
The Klan leader didn’t know what to do as the rest of the members fell about laughing. And they never harassed him again.
One old preacher man who used his mind – and his heart – to defeat the KKK.
Such power to be found when you just stop, look around and think…
There was a study done some years back. A group of teachers and a group of kids. Now the teachers were told they had exceptional teaching skills. They were also told the kids were gifted.
Bullsh*t really, they were all picked at random.
Needless to say at the end of the project, the teachers reported exceptional performance in the kids. But they were nothing extraordinary. Just normal kids doing their thing. Only difference was the teachers had high expectations. Believing in their ability and treating them accordingly.
Bottom line… performance was high, because expectations were high.
So if you really want to live a great life, it makes sense to understand what your expectations are, doesn’t it.
Do you expect life to be easy or do you expect life to be hard?
Do you expect to be rich or do you expect to struggle?
Do you expect to love your work or hate it while you sell your soul?
Do you expect to be healthy or fall apart as you age?
And what do you expect for those you love?
Because without a doubt, our expectations affect our experience. And the experience of those around us. It’s all about perception.
Have you stopped to look around yourself lately? How abundant this world is. We want for very little don’t we. Sometimes nothing at all. Just think about Christmas and the abundance the festive season brings. For most of us a plentiful supply of time, gifts, food.
Still groaning? Not exactly third world are we.
And there are many ways we can look at this concept of abundance. For some, it’s about greed that comes from a place of fear. That feeling of never having enough so we’d better stockpile. While for others it’s about gratitude and the humility of knowing we live in a vastly abundant world that is there to be enjoyed and respected. And that we can have it all without the need for rape or pillage.
Such a difference in mindset makes such a difference in experience, doesn’t it.
The ocean of abundance is all around us. A vast and limitless ocean there to be enjoyed.
So will you take a teacup or a bucket down to the ocean?
They do their best to stamp it out of us. Those creative dreams. And with the emphasis on reading, writing and ‘rithmetic it’s no wonder we have so many left brain zombies walking around. Not able to tap in to the creative genius living within.
I was watching a TEDxTalks this morning. And this young dude Logan LaPlante spoke better than many adults ever would. All of 13 years of age. And he talked about hacking. Not hacking in the sense of causing computer chaos. But hacking in the sense of mindset. Because hacking to Logan is simply thinking outside the square. Challenging a mindset that is the status quo with an alternate way of seeing things. Any mindset.
Sensing the creative genius within, Logan’s mum helped him hack his education. Removing him from the constraints of traditional school to allow the creative genius within him to grow. Making the decision to nurture her son’s mind rather than allow it to be held captive by the do’s and don’ts of the normal classroom. Despite the pressure against her. It takes a strong mind to go against the flow, doesn’t it. And most people don’t realize the education we give our kids is predominantly left brain. An emphasis on marks and IQ rather than EQ and creative intelligence. Worship of analysis, literacy and logic at the expense of right brain creativity. It’s a bit like valuing your left hand over your right. Doesn’t make sense, does it. Because we need both. But in a world where we are taught from a young age not to question, we so often sacrifice our right brain for our left. At what cost?
Because it’s creative genius that drives the world. It’s what brought us the age of computers. And space travel. And the humble ‘post it’ note. It’s what brings us cutting edge medicine, and solar energy. And while some people think it’s science that drives discovery, it’s actually creativity. Because behind every scientific development is the creative question… what if?
And when we’re creating, happiness follows. Just watch any child at play.
I love the Far Side. And one of my favourite Gary Larson cartoons is ‘School for the Gifted’. Depicting a studious young man pushing with all his might against a door. Only problem is the sign on the door reads ‘pull’.
Pushing when you need to pull is just so counterproductive, isn’t it.
No amount of effort is going to get him what he wants.
Because no matter what we’re doing in life, our efforts need to be directed the right way, don’t they. Take business for instance. We can put so much effort into marketing but if we’re marketing to the wrong people it ain’t gonna work. And then there’s relationships. We can be putting lots of effort into loving our significant others, but if we’re speaking a different love language it’s not going to get noticed.
And the result is we feel frustrated in our efforts.
But frustration is just a sign that you haven’t tweaked it quite right yet. Remember Edison? He tweaked it thousands of times to give us an efficient electric light bulb. That’s staying power.
Unfortunately Edison is a rarity. Because many people give it all up too soon. Frustrated by missing the mark despite all the energy spent in trying to make it happen. Not realizing that a small shift in mindset, a small shift in understanding, a small shift in the way we see things may be all that is required to make our dreams the reality we long for.
In a breaking news item, CSIRO scientists have discovered gold growing on gum trees in Australia. In fact, the gold is actually growing in the leaves.
Who said the earth was flat? Who said we could never fly? Who said money doesn’t grow on trees?
Apparently what happens is the tree acts like a hydraulic pump. Sucking up gold from the deposit hidden in the ground underneath. So really, the tree is a pointer to the bigger gold deposit in the ground. And it’s going to save the environment and the mining companies a small fortune. Because they can sample the leaves, rather than having to dig huge holes in the ground.
Busting myths. Busting mindsets. It changes the world, doesn’t it.
And time and time again we need to rethink our beliefs, don’t we. Because some genius must have been thinking outside the square even to sample the leaves in the first place. Asking such great questions like… what if? Opening up the possibilities rather than being locked into everyone else’s restricted thinking.
Everything starts with a thought. And fortunes are just waiting to be found.
The only difference between a prince and pauper is how they think.
Most people don’t realise just how incredible they really are. Because they take everything at face value. Not realising that within us we have this incredible reserve of wisdom that can bring everything together perfectly.
And there are many names we can give this part of ourselves. Unconscious self, subconscious mind, higher self, the God within. But sometimes those terms are hard to grasp hold off, aren’t they. Maybe a bit out there for some people too. So I like to think of this part of myself a little like the silent partner in a business arrangement. There providing resources and support but quietly, from the sidelines. Often without even being noticed.
Take for instance you reading this sentence. How many of you realise you are using your subconscious mind to do it. Your eyes are scanning the words and your brain is making sense of them (at least I hope so). And this can only happen because you have been taught to read, little by little, lesson by lesson as a child. And once you got the hang of it you didn’t have to think about it much anymore, did you? It became automatic, relegated to the subconscious part of your mind, your memory. There to draw on whenever you need to. And the same can be said for walking, and driving and so many other things we take for granted. We really are amazing.
But that’s just the tip of it.
Is anyone watching Redesign My Brain? A brilliant little series on the ABC (its still available on ABC iview) where ordinary people are learning to use their brain in extraordinary ways. And it’s not hard to do. You just have to be open to thinking a little differently, don’t you. As Einstein said, we only use a small fraction of our brain capacity.
I wonder what could you achieve if you used even 10% more?
How would your life be different?
You probably already know I have spent the last 30 years teaching people how to get more from between their ears. Be sure to book your seat at Resolving the Mindset Riddle.
I was taking a moment out last week. Sitting there, looking out across the paddocks. Carving myself out a peaceful interlude in the busy-ness of life. It’s important to do that, isn’t it. And then it caught my eye. An eagle in all its magnificence. Soaring gracefully. Catching the currents. Almost a meditation just sitting there in its presence. Mesmerized by it’s beauty. It seemed effortless.
And I had to laugh. Because in the very next moment a bunch of black and white feathers grabbed my attention. A magpie. Working really hard. Wings beating furiously as it moved across the sky. It was really making very heavy weather of it all. If only it had realized.
Because it got me to thinking. Two birds. Both with the same gift of flight. But using this gift so differently. One choosing to soar while the other is caught in struggle. Blinded to all the other possibilities.
It’s an awesome gift that as humans we have a brain that allows us to make choices, isn’t it. Choices about how we’re going to do life. Because if we don’t like how it’s working, we can always make a better choice, can’t we.
I wonder what you could do right now to make your life a little easier…